July 24, 2008

Franciscan Skemp to Open New ER and Urgent Care Center

By Terry Rindfleisch, La Crosse Tribune, Wis.

Jul. 24--Franciscan Skemp Healthcare will open a $9 million center that officials said will change the way emergency and urgent care services are delivered to patients.

The Emergency and Urgent Care Center will open Aug. 6. The 15,000-square-foot facility will be located in the north end of the Center for Advanced Medicine and Surgery on Market Street and West Avenue. "This is a fundamentally different model designed to make sure the patient gets the appropriate care for the complexity of their need," said Dr. Robert Nesse, Franciscan Skemp president and CEO. "In the past, patients were often put in the position of trying to guess how serious their condition was. Now a triage nurse will make sure they get the right care."

Patients do a quick registration with name, birthdate and medical problem, and then see a triage nurse who will determine whether they should be "fast-tracked" to urgent care or taken to the emergency department, said Joy Erb-Moser, a registered nurse and EMS education coordinator.

"This model has taken the burden off people making the decision of what services they need," Erb-Moser said.

Nesse said triage nurses will follow protocols to make their decisions. "Medical costs are part of that decision because the co-pay for emergency care could be double that of urgent care," he said.

Urgent care services will offered 6 a.m. to midnight.

It is the first renovation project for Franciscan Skemp emergency/urgent care services in more than 30 years.

"The space we had was just inadequate and we couldn't provide the most efficient care we needed to with the best technology," Nesse said.

Sue McBride, director of patient care for the emergency and urgent care center, said the center was designed by nurses and medical staff to create better patient flow and more timely and efficient care.

The center has 17 emergency rooms and five urgent care rooms.

McBride said the center has 85 computers and four large electronic boards that keep track of staffing and patients' status.

Cheryl Paar, trauma coordinator, said the rooms also have electronic patient lifts, toilets and standardized equipment carts.

The center has a special room for treatment of sexually-assaulted women. A laboratory and CT scanner are also located in the center.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Wisconsin and Southeastern Minnesota donated money for a waiting area with original art and a children's area scaled for younger visitors and supplied with books and activities.

"Our focus for this new center was patient comfort, care and access, combined with the latest technology," Nesse said. "I like what we've done."


Franciscan Skemps Emergency and Urgent Care Center, by the numbers:

- 15,000 square feet

- 22 exam rooms

- $9 million project, including $4.3 million raised by the community and medical center staff

- 58,300 linear feet, or 11 miles of metal studs

- 116,800 feet of wire, long enough to stretch from the new building to Trempealeau, Wis.

- 38,000 square feet of insulation, just enough to cover a football field.

- 98,000 square feet of drywall, enough to cover three football fields.

- 2,400 pounds of lead hung on the walls of the CD scanner and radiography rooms.

- 4,800 hours of labor

Source: Franciscan Skemp Healthcare

New building projects set

Franciscan Skemp Healthcare will break ground July 30 on a new Holmen, Wis., clinic and will soon expand parking at its Onalaska clinic.

The new and bigger clinic in Holmen will be at Holmen Drive and Hale Road, just north of the Pizza Corral restaurant. The clinic is expected to open in spring 2009. Franciscan Skemp will relocate its existing clinic behind Holmen Square to the new site, expanding from 7,500 square feet to 20,000 square feet.

Franciscan Skemp earlier bought 10 acres of land next to its Onalaska clinic and will expand patient parking on some of the land in the fall, said John Nemec, Franciscan Skemp vice president of regional services.

Construction on a new combined cardiology-radiology department at the La Crosse medical center will be finished by spring. A new catheterization laboratory is operating and a new entrance is being constructed. The main entrance to the hospital is also being remodeled.

Nemec said the hospital will undergo major renovation with a conversion to private rooms and reorganized departments in the next five years. The Sparta hospital/clinic will undergo renovation for expansion of clinic and emergency services, he said.

Terry Rindfleisch can be reached at [email protected] or (608) 791-8227.


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